Close
Home  All Articles
 
 
Thursday, December 20,2007

Holiday beef demand is beginning to pick up

by WLJ
December 10, 2007 Some light cash trade was underway by mid-day last Thursday at $145-147 in Nebraska, however most other areas were quiet, with the majority of trade expected to occur on Friday. Analysts expected a steady to weak trend last week. Prior week trade came in at $95-95.50 in the southern Plains. Live sales in Nebraska and Colorado sold from $95-96 and dressed sales ranged from $150-151. Live sales in Iowa/Minnesota sold from $94-95 with dressed sales from $148-150. Packers werte working off available supplies of contract and formula cattle and slaughter volume early in the week was indicative of a healthy supply of cattle available. Week-to-date total harvest through last Thursday was pegged at 520,000 head, compared to 505,000 for the same period a week earlier and 502,000 for the same period in 2006. The heavy slaughter volume indicates that the packer battle for market share, despite heavy losses for much of the year, continues. Packer losses last week were estimated at $56.25 per head by HedgersEdge.com. Without positive margins in pork and poultry production, packers would likely be in far greater trouble than they are. Current packer margins in the pork industry were estimated at $8.60 per head by HedgersEdge.com. Analysts at the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) said that pork margins are at their best in six years. That profitability comes despite heavy production levels indicating very good demand for the product. “Very strong byproduct prices and surging numbers of slaughter-ready hogs have bolstered pork packer gross margins. The live-to-cutout price spread is the difference between the purchase price of a hog and the value of the wholesale meat cuts plus the by-product value. On a monthly basis, the pork live-to-cutout price spread was estimated at nearly $21 per hog in November, the largest since December 2001,” LMIC analysts said last week in a release. The volume of pork and poultry production remains a concern for beef producers simply due to the fact that competing lower-priced proteins keeps a lid on beef sales at the retail level and reduces consumer willingness to pay up to purchase beef. Seasonal demand for rib and loin products helped to support the boxed beef market last week, however, end meats traded lower for much of the week and pulled cutout prices down with them. The Choice cutout at mid-day last Thursday was down another 40 cents to trade at $147.81, while Select moved 93 cents lower to trade at $131.42. Volume at mid-week was heavy with nearly 600 loads moving last Wednesday. The export market for protein has been a key this year to supporting prices and last week’s export numbers showed the importance of overseas sales to the beef and pork markets in particular. High volumes of both meats are being shipped with an emphasis on trade with Mexico. For the week of Nov. 23-29, beef export volume to Mexico totaled 5,100 metric tons. Shipments to Canada, the next largest customer by volume, accounted for 1,000 metric tons of beef. Advanced sales for delivery in 2008 to Mexico totaled 600 metric tons. Iowa State University ag economist Shane Ellis said the falling dollar has been a boon for agricultural exports and meat, in particular. As the dollar has weakened over the last eight months, other nations have increasingly used their purchasing power to buy supplies of U.S. farm goods, including beef. He pointed out that U.S. beef exports are up 26 percent over year ago levels. Poultry exports are up 14 percent. “Growth in meat export volumes has occurred for several reasons. First, foreign markets have growing economies, increasing wealth, and willingness to pay for U.S. food products. Second, the foreign consumer’s opinion of beef safety is improving, which builds consumer preference,” Ellis said. “In the case of poultry, disease has hampered other countries’ ability to produce the product.” Exports to Asia included just 500 metric tons for Japan and 200 metric tons for Taiwan during the Nov. 23-29 period. The importance of the Asian markets has many asking when they will come back online. Most analysts are expecting trade will resume with South Korea and Japan sometime early in 2008. The best news is that trade is expected to open wider as the two nations loosen standards to allow imports of bone-in beef from older animals. The cow markets, which have been solid throughout the fall, continued to perform well last week, said Ehedger.com market analyst Troy Vetterkind. “Boneless beef markets were mostly steady as supply and demand are in balance, although it is said that fed cattle 50’s were becoming available, which has some thinking lower toward the end of the week,” he said. “The beef market should find a little stability toward the end of this week, going into next (week of Dec. 10) now that packers have cleaned up some inventory.” Vetterkind said the live cattle trading action on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week was the result of low volume and concerns about cash direction for the week. He said the technical signals in the market were creating a tough situation for traders. “The next meaningful support on the charts for December live cattle looks to be around $92.50. Perhaps the fundamentals won’t let us get down there in the near-term, however, the funds are going to be looking to sell cattle on rallies now,” he said. “As I have been mentioning, any near-term strength in the cash markets that gets the futures market to rally needs to be sold from a hedge standpoint going into the first of the year.” Feeder cattle Western Video Market and Superior Livestock Auction both held sales last week, with well over 20,000 head sold in both. Western Video reported strong demand for all classes of feeder cattle, with a large majority of deliveries being current, with some January delivery dates. Large runs of feeder cattle were seen at auction markets around the country, causing the recently rising prices to be tempered, even falling into a glut in some markets where weather also played a factor. USDA Market News Reporter Corbitt Wall explained that there are too many feeder cattle for the current feed situation. “Being as there is not very much wheat available and many places had a very dry year, there are just way too many calves coming to market, and no place to put them,” said Wall. “There were a few Midwestern and Corn Belt auctions where everything was called $5-10 lower, and that was even being optimistic.” Wall explained that while demand for calves from farmer-feeders is strong, they are not absorbing enough cattle in the Corn Belt to counter the supply. “One of the problems with a lot of farmer-feeders in the northern areas is that the only thing they want is big steers,” says Wall. “Further south, where buyers for commercial yards are at the auctions, they look at some of the heifers which are way back in price and will buy them; but to the north, most farmers don’t want any heifers. It’s just dragging the price down.” “Oklahoma City saw over 13,000 head sell and there weren’t even enough yearling cattle to set a trend,” continued Wall. “It’s pretty easy for most people to make the decision to bring small and unweaned calves to market when they don’t have much competition.” DTN analyst Walt Hackney explained that high corn and distillers grain prices are also contributing to the softening market. “Originally, cattle feeders felt that with the all-time record of corn produced this year, the price of corn would settle to more manageable levels. But so far, anyway, corn is seeking higher ground and taking the byproduct with it,” Hackney added. At the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City last week, there were 13,532 head sold, with larger feeder cattle being lightly tested and selling $1-2 lower. Steer calves were mostly steady, with heifer calves steady to $2 higher. Demand was moderate to good for calves, with the least demand on short-weaned or grain fed fleshy calves. Most morning sales were certified preconditioned calves quoted as value-added. The large run was partially due to the number of program calves and traditional year-end receipts. Steers weighing an average of 735 lbs. sold for $109.86, and heifers of the same type weighing 723 lbs. sold at $102.48. In Joplin, MO, last week, there were 9,050 head sold, with steers and heifers steady to $3 lower. Demand was moderate, with a heavy supply. The weather was cool and dry, which was ideal for transporting and marketing cattle. Steers of 718 lbs. at this sale went for $106.05, while heifers weighing 724 lbs. sold at $95.21. To the north in Bassett, NE, last week, there was no trend on the 4,650 head sold, though a firm to higher undertone was noted. The quality of cattle was good to very good, with strong demand for 500-550 weight steers and heifers. A short list of yearlings also received very competitive bidding. A group of 708 lb. steer calves sold at $109.95, while heifer calves weighing 710 lbs. went for $98. In Dodge City, KS, last week at the Winter Livestock Feeder Cattle Auction, there were 4,013 head sold. Steers between 400-700 lbs. were steady, with weights 750-950 lbs. going $1-3 lower. Heifers at 350-650 lbs. were steady to $2 lower, with other weights not well tested but showing a lower undertone. Steer calves weighing 720 lbs. were good for $105.50, while good heifers weighing 740 lbs. were selling at $103. Last week in Torrington, WY, a total of 3,550 head were sold with steer calves under 700 lbs. selling steady to $2 lower, with instances of $3 lower. Heifer calves under 600 lbs. were $103 lower. There were not enough comparable sales on yearling steers and heifers for a good price comparison. Demand was moderate to good, with overall quality not nearly as attractive as the week previous. Steers of 725 lbs. sold for $103.50 at this sale, with 725 lb. heifers bringing $99.75. At the Cattlemen’s Livestock Market in Galt, CA, last week, there was a total of 1,550 head of feeder cattle sold with steers and heifers under 650 lbs. selling $1-3 lower. Feeder steers and heifers over 650 lbs. were $2-4 lower. Feeder steers weighing 600-700 lbs. sold for $97-105, while heifers weighing 600-700 lbs. sold for $85-93.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

BEEF talk

by Kris Ringwall, North Dakota State University
The most recent addition to the lineup gets the nod. We all know that in a matter of days, the most recent becomes old. You now can do about anything you want with that small device in the palm of your hand. You can take a small stick device and manipulate the keypad in a way that the world knows who you are, where you are, and what you need. This is common among the new generation. The older generation is quickly getting acclimated. Therein is a great opportunity: new jobs and new expectations. In the beef world, the beef techie soon may be listed in the classifieds under the help wanted section. During a quick look at the local auction barn crowd, the buyers and spectators were fairly well equipped with good cell phone technology. Calf weights, lot weights, average calf weights and prices were displayed in a matter of seconds on digitized boards and other incidental electronic equipment. Many of these conveniences always have been there, but technology has aided the process and speeded things up. Enter the beef techie, who brings efficiency to the process of making technology work in environments that are not technology friendly. Many environments are a combination of old technology merged with new technology. Some merges well, while other technology has trouble fitting in. Regardless, technology is coming, and knowing how to plug things in becomes important. Perhaps the concept of a new television, disc player or surround-sound system, with individual remotes and interfaces, has arrived in the beef barn. Interestingly, the other day, the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Dickinson Research Extension Center (DREC) team added some thoughts to the technology world. The DREC and many others worked on a project that was developed on older, low frequency electronic identification technology. Restraining cattle was required to use the technology. It took significant effort and time to fully implement. The latest development has new technology reading high-frequency tags with no interference or performance issues at local livestock auctions. The reading took .338 second per group lot, with 99 percent read rates. Connecting the calf with the data package and opening the door to track comingled and re-sorted lots of calves is a major leap forward. The 10 lots of cattle that were read averaged 18.8 calves per lot. Each tag was read 238.5 times during that .338-second time frame. Now that is the job of the beef techie. The beef techie has to figure out how all this works and effectively implement the technology into a very large, mature industry. In the meantime, the industry needs to find the value of both the calf and the accompanying data. We also must go one step further and accept the fact that there are two principles at work. The two principles are trace back and trace forward. The discussion of marketing is strongly related to trace forward. Trace forward is the process of presenting to the market around the world a product and data package capable of providing assurances of the authenticity of the product offered and accompanying data package. Trace forward is a sequential step that, when combined with trace back, creates a synergism around what was, what is, and what will be relative to authenticated producer products involved in domestic and export markets. The bottom line is technology does open doors, but keeping the doors open will require the beef techie.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Nevada cattlemen gather in Elko

by WLJ
“Cattlemen participated in discussions and listened to educational sessions which impact their ranching operations. It was obvious due diligence will be required in the upcoming year to make certain ranching is not left out of the decisions being made; ensuring ranching remains a vital and profit-able business,” commented Rachel Buzzetti, executive director of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association (NCA). The Cattlemen’s College was overwhelmingly attended and the first topic of the day included a panel of experts who talked about wildfire prevention and suppression. The panelists included moderator John McLain of Resource Concepts; University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) Range Specialist Emeritus Wayne Burkhardt; Bureau of Land Management Director Ron Wenker; Forest Service Supervisor Ed Monnig; Maggie Creek Ranch manager Jon Griggs; State Forester Pete Anderson; and Director of Natural Resources Allen Biaggi. Secondly, experts Gary McCuin, with the Department of Agriculture, UNR's Range Specialist Sherm Swanson, UNR’s Range Ecologist Barry Perryman, UNR Cooperative Extension Kent McAdoo, and UNR Beef Cattle Specialist Ben Bruce explained the importance of ranchers doing their own monitoring in cooperation with the federal agencies. During the convention, new priorities and policies were adopted by the Nevada Cattlemen’s and Woolgrower’s membership. Following are some of the policies highlighted: •A call for the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Nevada Department of Natural Resources, and Nevada Division of Forestry to aggressively move towards a fire prevention and pre-suppression mode, rather than a reactionary suppression approach. •A request of the Nevada Congressional delegation to support modification of the estate tax that allows for the protection and preservation of farm and ranching lands and families. •A request that the state Legislature amend the Nevada Revised Statutes to expand Nevada farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to post and identify their properties to reduce incidents of trespass by public land users. In addition, several other policies from past years were renewed by the membership. In other related business, the membership approved the nomination of Neil McQueary of Ruby Valley and J.J. Goicoechea of Diamond Valley as new members of the Board of Directors. At the conclusion of the meeting, a number of people who were leaders or who had excelled over the past year, were recognized and awarded during the Nevada Cattlemen’s annual banquet. This year’s Teacher of the Year was Dee Dee Dann, a sixth-grade science teacher from Owyhee Combined Schools, who undeniably incorporates agriculture into her curriculum for her students. She was presented with a plaque and a $1,000 stipend to be used in the classroom, sponsored by the Nevada Ag Foundation. This year, the “Rancher of the Year” Award was presented to Merlin Flake, manager of Delamar Valley Cattle. Boyd Spratling presented this year’s President’s Award to outgoing executive director Rachel Buzzetti for all of her guidance and support of the association this past year. Lastly, Boyd Spratling presented Buster Wines of Ruby Valley with the “Cattleman of the Year” award, which is sponsored by American Ag Credit. “This award, in my mind, recognizes someone who stands out and is a symbol of what a rancher should be,” said Boyd Spratling, president of NCA. Afterwards, Spratling drew Gene Buzzetti’s name as the raffle winner of the 25 tons of hay donated by the TS Ranch. The proceeds will benefit the Young Cattlemen’s College Tour. He also drew Ted Zimmerman’s name as the winner of a Dell Computer. This year’s Western Saddle Silent Auction item was purchased by Mitch Buzzetti. The Western saddle was donated by American Ag Credit and made by Tips Custom Saddles.  

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Idaho cattlemen gather for annual convention

by WLJ
Bill Rawlings of Boise is the 2006 Cattlefeeder of the Year. He has been part of the Idaho cattle feeding industry for over 30 years, and a key part of one of the state’s largest feeders for over 27 years. A key member of the management team at Agri Beef Co., based in Boise, Rawlings has proved to be a stable voice of reason throughout the many changes in the Idaho feeding industry over the years. He has helped build one of the most dynamic and progressive companies in the industry, and has brought core values to his work—integrity, innovation, and leadership. Rawlings has generously volunteered his time with ICA since the merger of the Idaho Cattlemen and Idaho Cattlefeeders in 1984, including serving as a leader on several committees. He and his wife Lynda reside in Boise, and are the parents of two daughters. Dave Nelson of Mackay, ID, is the 2006 Cattleman of the Year. He is a past president of ICA, and has volunteered his time on numerous committees and leadership positions in the organization. Nelson has served as a key industry leader in responding to the reintroduction of wolves to Idaho, in calling for the scientific review of stubble height in range monitoring, and as a participant in trade negotiations with Canada. He currently serves as president of the Public Lands Council, a national organization that serves public lands ranchers across the west. Nelson, a native of Canada, came to Mackay to manage the San Felipe Ranch in 1973, and he and his family now operate ranches in Mackay and Dubois. Nelson is also a past recipient of the Governor’s Award for Environmental Stewardship. He and his wife Heather reside at their ranch in Mackay. Celia Tindall of Bruneau, ID, is the 2006 Cattlewoman of the Year. Tindall was born and raised in Bruneau, and is a teacher in the Rimrock School District. She and her husband Dave ranch in the Bruneau and Grasmere areas of Owyhee County. Tindall has been a lifelong member of the cattle industry and a tireless advocate for beef and the ranching lifestyle. Through her involvement with the cattlewomen organizations at the county and state levels, she has volunteered her time to help tell the story of beef and its importance to consumers and the local communities that rely on the cattle industry as an economic driver. ICA extends its warmest congratulations and appreciation to each of the 2006 award winners. Nominations for the 2007 award winners will be taken throughout the next year and information is available by contacting the ICA office at 208/343-1615, info@idahocattle.org or PO Box 15397, Boise, ID 83715. In addition to honoring some of the state’s finest producers, ICA members also elected new officers and board members during the convention. The following officials were elected during the annual meeting by the general membership. The ICA Executive Committee meets monthly with a particular focus on financial matters while the full Board meets at least quarterly to guide association activity on important cattle industry issues. The following is a complete list of the ICA Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Executive Committee: President, Jeff Faulkner, Gooding, ID; President-Elect, Jennifer Ellis, Blackfoot; Vice President, Kent Mann, Parma; Immediate Past President, Mike Webster, Roberts; CattleWomen Council Chair, Sarah Baker, Kuna; Cow/Calf Council Chair, Charles Lyons, Mountain Home; Feeder Council Chair, Jeff Johnson, Parma; Purebred Council Chair, Sam Shaw, Notus. Board of Directors: District I: Paul Schroder, Weippe; Linda Rider, Coeur d’Alene; Dennis Rowland, Cottonwood. District II: Nate Gilliam, Parma; Jim Eckhardt, Weiser; Jeff Knight, Grandview; Paul Miller, Boise. District III: Mike Telford, Malta; Bill Lickley, Jerome; Dave Rollheiser, Paul. District IV: Zac Skaar, Lewisville; Carl Ellsworth, Leadore; Norm Wallis, May; Richard Savage, Hamer. District V: Ralph Wheatley, McCammon; Curt Hoskins, Malad; Russ Boyer, Stone. ICA leaders are willing to visit with individual beef producers and speak at local or county meetings. ICA is a membership driven association representing almost 1,500 cattlemen and women across the state. To schedule one of these volunteer leaders or for more information, please contact the Idaho Cattle Association at 208,343-1615 or info@idahocattle.org.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

California cattlemen host 90th annual convention

by WLJ
The CCA convention had a little something for everyone, including two major fundraising functions. The kick-off function was a dinner and auction for the Livestock Memorial Research Fund (LMRF) and Protecting Our State’s Stewards, Economy and Environment (POSSEE) committees in which over $20,000 was raised. The Allied Industries Council hosted a wine and cheese social in addition to a bingo night on Thursday, Nov 16. Proceeds from this function went toward the Allied Industries Council Scholarship Program which, last year, paid out over $11,000 to California college students. Pfizer Animal Health once again hosted three Cattlemen’s College seminars. All three sessions focused on various aspects of the industry. The first session, held on Wednesday, Nov 15, allowed participants to tour the California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab at University of California Davis. Session two on Wednesday afternoon focused on the National Animal Identification System The final session on Friday, Nov. 17 was hosted by the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association (CBCIA). Dr. Tom Field from Colorado State University talked with the group about changes in the consumer market place and opportunities for the beef cattle industry. The CCA and CCW convention was also a time to conduct business and set policy that will be followed in the upcoming years. The following is a partial list of committees that met during the convention: Beef Quality Assurance and Care, Cattle Health, Livestock Identification, Marketing, Membership, Public Lands, Range Improvement, Land Use and Taxation, Water and Environmental Quality, Wildlife Management, CBCIA, California Rangeland Trust, Cattle PAC, Young Cattlemen’s Committee, LMRF, POSSEE and Nominating. CCW members will also be conducting their CCW board and business meetings. The annual awards banquet, held on Friday evening, honored CCA president K. Mark Nelson of Wilton and CCW president Gretchen Johnson of Los Gatos for their two years of service, and helped to welcome in Bruce Hafenfeld of Weldon and Judy Ahmann, Napa, to the helm of each association. The CCA officer team was announced including second vice president, Bill Thomas, Sacramento; second vice president, Kevin Kester, Parkfield; president, Bruce Hafenfeld, Weldon; second vice president, Carolyn Carey, Alturas; first vice president, Dr. Tom Talbot, Bishop; and treasurer, Myron Openshaw, Oroville.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Improving sorting reduces outliers, improves quality

by WLJ
December 3, 2006 Sorting cattle helps eliminate outliers in a pen, but the extra effort may be rewarded by higher quality grades, too. A study by Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) shows the more sorts, the better the grades in most cases. “Our data says those cattle that were sorted three or more times have much higher CAB acceptance rates than cattle that were just sold as one group,” says Gary Fike, beef cattle specialist for the company. From 2005 to 2006, CAB tracked data from its 63 licensed feedlots in 15 states. Cattle that were marketed together had an average CAB acceptance rate of 23.3 percent. Cattle in two sort groups improved to 29.6 percent, compared to those sorted three times or more at 33.9 percent. That 10-percentage-point increase means more dollars for the seller. “That’s huge,” Fike says. “In a 100-head pen, that’s 10 more head that make CAB. You’re talking about roughly $40 per head, or $400 extra.” Marbling is the most limiting factor in Angus-influence cattle that don’t qualify for the brand. Dan Loy, Iowa State University animal scientist, says it makes sense that sorting can enhance overall marbling in a pen. Although there is little research into its impact on the share of USDA Choice grades, those would likely follow CAB acceptance-rate trends. “Sorting allows you to feed the remainder slightly longer than you would have otherwise,” Loy explains. “It’s a net benefit, but not the largest benefit.” The main reason for sorting is to avoid outliers that lead to discounts in grid marketing. “You’re trying to minimize problems by marketing sooner those cattle that may have issues with over-fatness or heavyweight carcasses,” he says. Kansas cattle feeder Allan Sents says he uses multiple marketings for both reasons. “We try to optimize the return on the cattle,” says the manager of McPherson County Feeders, Marquette, KS. “We do that by minimizing discounts from Yield Grade 4s and heavyweights, while giving more cattle the opportunity to advance in quality grade. We maximize that grade potential by feeding the light end a little longer.” Although it can be hard to measure, increased feed efficiency could be another benefit. “If we can get cattle out before we get them over-finished, that’s going to help our live performance, our efficiency,” Sents explains. Loy says labor and facilities are the two main obstacles to routine sorting finished cattle. At McPherson, a 9,000-head CAB-licensed feedlot, pen layout and design are essential to success, Sents says. Several years ago he built four 40-head pens, with concrete-floors and near the office. “That has made it really workable for us to hold small groups from week to week,” he says. “We’re less likely to tie up bigger pens with small groups of cattle. When we sort cattle, we may also move some of them to a smaller pen, so our wide variety of pen sizes is an advantage.” McPherson’s regular pens vary in capacity from 40 to 200 head. Feedlots that don’t have such flexibility may not maximize pen space all the time, but Fike says it’s not usually for long periods of time. “If cattle aren’t too far apart in weight starting out, unused pen space shouldn’t be a big deal,” he says. Just spreading marketing groups by as little as 14 to 21 days could mean an improvement. Loy suggests starting out with the method developed through Iowa’s Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity. “Market a first draft when half the cattle are at approximately 0.4 to 0.5 inches of fat thickness, slightly more if you’re targeting higher carcass quality,” he says. “Then feed the rest of the cattle an extra five weeks.” Feeders can begin that way, Loy says, and then adapt the program to fit their needs. Whether by horseback or on foot, the last key is to have capable sorters. “We have some people who are very familiar with sorting and do a good job that way,” Sents says. “That’s a big help.”

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Study finds leukotoxins are main BRD concern

by WLJ
November 26, 2007 A new study conducted under feedlot conditions demonstrates that, despite improvements made in the quality of commercial vaccines against the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica, those that don’t include a component to specifically stimulate protection against leukotoxin risk failure. Leukotoxin is a natural byproduct produced by infection with M. haemolytica. Believed to be only one of the pathogenic factors M. haemolytica produces—but the most important—leukotoxin destroys the calf’s white blood cells, preventing them from fighting the infection and the damaging inflammatory process in the lung. Adequate protection against the effects of leukotoxin is so important, for instance, that mutant M. haemolytica which do not naturally produce the toxin have been shown to cause little or no disease. The study, conducted by the independent Agri Research Center in Canyon, TX, randomly vaccinated 20 newly weaned and acclimated 352-pound-average heifers and steers against M. haemolytica, the most common bacterial cause of bovine respiratory disease (BRD), using one of two commercial vaccines. One contained a leukotoxoid to stimulate protection against leukotoxin (PULMO-GUARD PHM-1, from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica) and one did not (Once PMH SQ, from Intervet). An additional 10 calves remained unvaccinated as controls. Following challenge by direct introduction of M. haemolytica into the respiratory tract 28 days following vaccination, the Agri Research Center researchers found: • Calves vaccinated with the leukotoxoid-containing vaccine had average temperatures significantly lower than either those vaccinated with the non-leukotoxoid vaccine or those not vaccinated at all. • Calves vaccinated with the leukotoxoid-containing vaccine had significantly lower lung damage scores than either the non-leukotoxoid vaccinated or the control calves. The study showed no statistically significant difference in scores indicating clinical disease, which included appetite, respiration rate, and eye and nasal discharge. “Producers and veterinarians who were in practice 20 years ago may remember the problems associated with many of the whole-cell Mannheimia bacterins that didn’t include protection against leukotoxins,” observes Dudley Smith, DVM, professional services veterinarian for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. “And today’s manufacturers have made a lot of progress in improving vaccines compared to those first-generation products.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Pre-holiday fed market is higher

by WLJ
November 26, 2007 The rally in the boxed beef market last week of more than $4 was expected to help cattle feeders move prices higher. Analysts were calling for trade in the range of $147-$148 dressed basis in the north and $94 and higher in the south. The cutout values, which reached $148.06 on the Choice and $135.07 for Select last Wednesday, have helped boost packer margins closer to breakeven and a holiday-shortened harvest last week, along with a surge in demand for beef, drove beef prices to their highest point since early September. Although trade had yet to develop in significant quantity at mid-day last Wednesday, market watchers were anticipating trade at $1.50-2.50 higher than the prior week. Early trade was underway last Wednesday at $95 live in the south, $148 dressed basis in Nebraska, and $150 dressed in the Corn Belt. That compares to the prior week’s activity of fed cattle traded at $92.50-93.50 live in the south and at $93-94 live and $146-147.50 dressed in the north. Corn Belt trade came in at $91.50 to $92 live and $145 dressed basis the previous week. The week-to-date slaughter remained robust at 390,000 head, compared to 358,000 for the same period a week earlier and 386,000 for the same period a year earlier. However, despite the strong beef kill, it was nothing compared to the numbers being chalked up by hog processors, who last week scheduled the first Sunday slaughter since 1998, according to Jim Robb, director of Livestock Marketing Information Center. Robb said the pork market had reached a likely bottom and was set to rebound, which would benefit beef producers. “Pork and hog margins have been super strong, which in turn has helped the beef market,” Robb said. “Without the money being made by packers in the pork industry, beef would be trending lower than it has.” He said the overall market picture, with competing meats starting to climb and the export picture picking up, looks good as fed cattle supplies tighten. However, the U.S. economic picture poses a concern, particularly if consumers remain pinched as it looks like they will. “In the U.S., the economic picture looks okay. U.S. exports are strong and we have a strong overseas economy because of the weaker dollar, but U.S. consumers account for about 70 percent of all U.S. economic activity,” Robb said. “The fed cattle forecast prices are too high if we slip into a serious recession. The big question is can the strong world economy make up for it? So far, the answer has been yes.” He said the overall supply picture looks supportive well into next year. “We expect to see a year-to-year decline in the U.S. beef cattle herd when the Jan. 1 numbers are released and we expect to see declines in Mexico, Canada and Argentina,” said Robb. “So overall, the world supply side of the market looks to be very supportive ahead.” In the futures markets last week, that picture was evident with prices that were more reflective of actual market conditions, said Robb. At the close of business last Wednesday, December fed cattle contracts were 17 points higher, settling at $96.35, while February contracts gave up 7 points to end at $98.20 and April lost 12 points to finish the abbreviated trading day at $98.40. In the cow beef markets, at mid-day last Wednesday, cow beef cutout values were up slightly to trade at $103.17, while the 90 percent lean moved at $123.01 and 50 percent trim reached $53.66. Robb pointed out that cull cow prices have remained strong and he said they will remain so as slaughter volume drops off for the remainder of the year and into next year. Feeder cattle Limited supplies at auction markets around the country last week were partially due to the shortened holiday week as well as strong demand for feeders, which is currently outstripping supply in most major feeding areas. Derrell Peel, livestock marketing specialist for Oklahoma State University, said that the most recent cattle on feed report shows the dynamic feed environment which currently exists, and explains the high-demand situation. “Feedlots are beginning to take advantage of the available supplies of heavy yearling cattle coming off of summer grazing programs,” said Peel, who says demand for lighter-weight feeder cattle is somewhat less. “I suspect that some of the 600-700 pound feeders, and certainly most anything lighter than that, would have stayed on winter pasture if forage conditions were better in the country,” Peel said. “In Oklahoma, wheat pasture is limited, much of the state is quite dry and although considerable hay was harvested this summer, much of it is poor quality. All in all, it isn’t easy to put together a stocker or backgrounding program, but the incentives to do so continue to build.” Peel explained that the unusual feeder prices are occurring because of high demand for heavy feeders from feedlot buyers, and that the limited forage makes it difficult to put stocker programs together to meet the feedlot demand. “The market will continue to offer incentives for forage- based gains until enough producers respond,” said Peel. At the Joplin Regional Stockyards in Joplin, MO, last week, demand was moderate to good on the moderate supply of 3,600 head. Compared to the previous sale, steers and heifers under 500 lbs. were $2-5 higher, with weights over 500 lbs. steady. The best buyer activity was seen on light weight calves. Winter Livestock’s sale in La Junta, CO, last week saw a total of 1,353 head sell, with steer calves steady to $1 lower and heifer calves steady. In a light test, yearling feeder steers and heifers were steady, on moderate trade and demand. There was a total run of 1,405 head last week in Riverton, WY, at the Riverton Livestock Auction. There was lighter offering compared to the week prior, with feeder steers under 550 lbs. coming under pressure, with weights over 600 lbs. going $1-3 higher.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association wraps up successful 57th mid-winter confe

by WLJ
November 26, 2007 Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) held their 57th annual Mid-Winter Conference Nov. 14-16 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO. With record attendance, CCA members and guests were able to come together on key issues affecting the beef industry. “We are a community of beef producers and Colorado residents dedicated to this industry and doing what is right,” said Kenny Rogers, CCA president. Representatives from across the state attended this annual event, sponsored by CCA and the Colorado CattleWomen (CCW), to share their commitment to improving Colorado’s beef industry. “As we move into the next legislative session, Colorado beef producers’ voices will be stronger than ever thanks to this year’s conference discussions and decisions,” Rogers added. Committees met Thursday, Nov. 15 to discuss key industry topics. CCA members at this event developed policies that will guide the future of Colorado’s cattle industry. Among the issues discussed among cattle producers in attendance was an endorsement of a ban on packer ownership of cattle for more than 14 days prior to slaughter, which passed unanimously, and a series of discussions on water rights. With growth all along the state’s Front Range region, producers are becoming more concerned about how urban and suburban water usage will impact their operations. CCA officers expressed their desire to involve as many cattle producers as possible in the process in an effort to present a more effective voice and a united front for the state’s cattle producers. CCA’s open and inclusive membership policy allows for anyone interested in the Colorado beef industry to join and become involved. “CCA works for ranchers and landowners on issues affecting the beef industry. Producers, consumers, land owners, businesses—we invite anyone concerned about the future of Colorado’s beef industry to join us,” Rogers said. During the awards banquet on Nov. 15, CCA and CCW gave special recognition to several members and state employees who have gone a step above their normal daily job descriptions and have shown an invaluable dedication to the beef industry. The award recipients included: Brand Inspector of the Year—Jack Haworth, Walden, CO; Law Officer of the Year—Deputy Larry Murphy, Colorado Springs, CO; Law Officer of the Year—Trooper Brian Williams, Lamar, CO; 2007 Commercial Producer of the Year—Jack and Dorothy Gilstrap, J.L. Cattle Co., Branson, CO; 2007 Seedstock Producer of the Year—Sam, Nita, and Skylar Houston, Aristocrat Ranch, Platteville, CO; Rookie CattleWoman of the Year—Christy Belton, Routt County CattleWomen; and CattleWoman of the Year—Rita Bay, Arkansas Valley CattleWomen. The Mid-Winter Conference ended with the Current Issues Breakfast Meeting on Friday, Nov. 16, where each of CCA’s affiliates reported on the activities and concerns in their areas. “The affiliate groups represent the core of CCA, and the Current Issues Breakfast Meeting is just one of many outlets CCA has to make sure every member’s voice is heard,” Rogers stated. To join CCA or to find out more information about becoming a member, contact the CCA office at 303/431-6422 or log on to www. coloradocattle.org.

Read more
Thursday, December 20,2007

Boxed beef prices continue to drag

by WLJ
November 12, 2007 Fed cattle trade stalled last week as packers and feedlots battled back and forth to determine who would end up taking bigger losses on this week’s trade. There was little change in the market picture last week to alleviate the squeeze on either side of the equation despite packers’ cutback in harvest levels, which served only to prevent boxed beef prices from falling farther. As of mid-day last Thursday, packers and feeders were still several dollars apart and market analysts expected the week’s trade at steady money. The previous week’s trade in the southern Plains came at $92-93.50. Dressed sales in Nebraska and Colorado came in a range of $142-143.50, with live sales from $91-92.50. Live cattle in the western Corn Belt sold from $89-90, with dressed sales from $140-142. Heavy carcass weights continue to drag on the market. With weights averaging 794 lbs. and packers continuing to fight for market share by keeping slaughter levels higher than is prudent as they fight for market share, there is a flood of beef on the market at prices buyers have been unwilling to pay. Packers have had to mark beef lower to prevent a backlog of product from developing and the result has been a significant bleed of red ink. Last week, HedgersEdge.com estimated packer losses at $67.80 per head on Thursday. If that number is applied to the entire federally inspected slaughter, that could mean losses for last Thursday alone would have exceeded $8.5 million. For the week, if kill levels reached expectations, the losses would total $40-45 million. Regardless of the red ink, packers continued to push heavy cattle harvests. The week-to-date total through Thursday last week was estimated at 511,000 head, down just 3,000 from the previous week, but still 4,000 head above year-earlier numbers. The high chain-speed did little to help the boxed beef market. Choice product last Thursday was at $140.05, up 85 cents from the previous day on demand that was called fairly good and heavy offerings. Select cuts were also higher, moving up 29 cents to trade at $128.61 mid-day last Thursday. Oklahoma State University Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel noted last week that competing meats and the U.S. economy as a whole are pounding the beef industry and it doesn’t appear the situation is likely to change in the near-term, which spells bad news for feedlots and packers alike. “Already weak wholesale pork prices, especially hams, coupled with recent weakness in chicken breast and wing prices, is weighing on boxed beef prices. Pork production is up 3.1 percent for the year-to-date and the most recent week was 5.8 percent above last year,” Peel said. “The pressure is exaggerated even more by unexpectedly strong beef slaughter rates recently and heavy carcass weights, both of which are pushing up beef production. It appears that packers, already suffering from lousy margins, are making matters worse in the short run by jockeying aggressively for market share.” Unless things change for the better, either domestically in terms of beef demand, or abroad, the situation isn’t likely to change soon, Peel said. “The result is a vicious squeeze for feedlots and packers with a lot of pushing and shoving in the fed cattle market each week. There does not seem to be much relief in sight for packers. Beef demand will continue to be pressured the rest of the year with ample pork and poultry production,” he said. “With South Korea back out of the beef market until 2008, there is little chance that export demand will come to the rescue. Current boxed beef values do not support fed cattle prices above the mid $80s, yet packers are paying near $90 for fed cattle at this time.” Peel said feedlots are equally pinched by the high cost of replacement feeders and corn prices, which aren’t likely to moderate either. “Meanwhile, feedlots continue to sell fed cattle that were bought as very pricey feeders last summer, many of which have breakevens in the mid $90s, yet they have been able to sell fed cattle around $90 at best,” he said. “Both packers and feeders are taking punishment in the market and there seems to be little they can do about it for the time being except to battle each week to see how the losses get split between them.” The commodity markets last week were adding to the struggle with big swings from day-to-day as a result of uncertainty in the broader stock market and strength in the grains. On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last Thursday, live cattle contracts were mostly higher with December moving up 52 points, closing the session at $95.40. February issues were up 30 points, ending at $98.35, and April gained 35 points to finish the day’s trade at $98.82. Feeder cattle Auction markets across the country took in large numbers of calves last week, while weaned, truly bunk-ready feeder steers and heifers become harder to find. Large runs of yearlings in the northern states over the past month have produced a limited offering of preconditioned feeder cattle, leading to steadily solid demand in most places. Brian Winter of Winter Livestock Exchange in Dodge City, KS, said that very few of the feeder cattle at their sale last week were weaned. “Of the approximately 2,500 head we sold, I would say that less than 400 of those cattle were weaned. It’s been that way for a little while in this area, where probably 75-80 percent of the calves are coming in straight off the cow with no weaning,” said Winter. “There’s still good demand for the calves because the margins are pretty good on them right now—it’s just at a lower price point than what is being paid for the yearlings and preconditioned cattle.” Winter explained that rain has been scarce in his area which, to some degree, has softened the price and caused a few of the calves to go elsewhere. “The market has definitely been a little weaker because of moisture concerns. If we would have had good moisture in this area over the past couple of months, I think prices would be $10-20 higher,” said Winter. “Most of the cattle in southwest Kansas are staying in the area and going to yards because of the lack of grass, but at our Riverton, WY, barn, we’re seeing a good number of those cattle head to feedlots in Nebraska, partially due to the same reason.” Walt Hackney of the Hackney Cattle Company writes that a number of farmer-feeders in the Midwest have come back to the sale barns and are keeping demand strong. “Since feeder cattle have dipped to a lower level, the interest has returned from Midwest buyers, who were basically sitting on the sidelines making a decision whether to sell corn to the ethanol plant or feed cattle,” Hackney said. “Now, with the combination of feeder cattle cheapening up some and the demand for ethanol corn tempering somewhat, the feeder buyers are finishing corn harvest and turning their attention toward filling empty pens.” Hackney said that although some corn growing areas experienced harvest challenges which may have decreased yield, the forecast of a record yield should remain. “Undoubtedly, with the extra acres planted, corn production will be a record, with over 13 billion bushels projected, and very possibly, the cattle feeder will find the procurement of corn for cattle feed to be easier since part of the bloom may have gone off the ethanol programs,” said Hackney. Limited wheat pasture continues to affect feeder cattle prices in the southern Plains states as wheat prices are too high for farmers to risk losing yield by grazing cattle. This trend continues to show up in auction markets where rainfall has been good for grass, but without wheat grazing opportunities, there is not enough acreage to handle the calf crop. At the Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City last week, there were 9,665 cattle put up for sale where prices on feeder steers were found to be steady to $2 lower, with the largest decline found in steers under 800 lbs. Feeder heifers were steady in a light test. Overall demand was moderate to good with the best action seen on weights that will finish in April. Unweaned steer calves were steady, with heifer calves steady to $2 lower. Demand for calves was moderate to good, with the best demand on lighter weight calves suitable for the limited early wheat grazing opportunities. A group of steer calves averaging 624 lbs. brought $109.33 at the sale, while heifer calves weighing 626 lbs. were bringing $101.21. In Joplin, MO, last week, there was moderate demand on the supply of 5,000 head available for sale. Compared to the previous sale, steer and heifer calves were steady to $2 lower, with yearlings staying steady on a light test. The bulk of the calf offering was seeing the corral for the first time, with only a few being vaccinated or weaned. Six hundred-700 lb. steer calves were good for between $102-112, while heifer calves of the same weights brought $93.25-100. Further north in Bassett, NE, last week, there were 4,100 head sold, with feeder calves trending $1-3 higher compared to the previous sale. The quality of the cattle was good, with good demand for all classes and weights. Most consignments had received preconditioning shots and were fresh off the cow. Steer calves weighing an average of 624 lbs. brought $119.75 at this sale, with weaned feeder heifers just over 600 lbs. bringing $108. Torrington Livestock Commission’s sale in Torrington, WY, last week saw 2,800 head sell, with steer calves steady to $3 higher, with some instances of $4-5 higher. Heifer calves were steady to $2 lower. There were not enough comparable sales on steers and heifers over 700 lbs. for a good price comparison, but overall demand was moderate to good. Steer calves weighing an average of 616 lbs. brought $116.50, with heifer calves weighing 613 lbs. going for $103.54. In La Junta, CO, last week, there were 3,909 cattle sold, with steer and heifer calves steady to $1 higher, except for 550-600 lb. steers which were $2 lower. In a light test, yearling feeder steers were steady to $1 higher, with yearling feeder heifers being scarce. Six hundred-640 lb. steer calves brought between $106-110 at this sale, with 605-630 lb. heifer calves bringing $101.25- 102.75. There were 2,046 head sold last week in Billings, MT, where, compared to the previous sale, steer and heifer calves sold with steady to lower undertones, though there were not enough offerings for a complete comparison. Demand was moderate, with the overall quality not as attractive as the week previous. Buyers paid $103.50-107 for steer calves between 600-700 lbs., and $91.50 for heifer calves weighing 650 lbs. At the Toppenish Livestock Auction in Toppenish, WA, last week, there were 1,970 head for sale with feeder steer and heifer calves steady to $5 higher, with most consignments being certified as all natural. Trade was active and there was good demand. Six hundred-700 lb. steer calves brought $98-105, with heifer calves in the same weight range bringing $93-95.50. At the Western Stockman’s Market in Famoso, CA, last week, prices were $2 higher on the stockers and steady on the feeder cattle out of the 2,252 head available for sale. A good run made up mostly of stocker and feeder cattle was seen, with good demand on the feeders, especially quality steers and heifers between 700-800 lbs. Six hundred-700 lb. choice steers sold between $95-105 at this sale, with 625-700 lb. choice heifers bringing $90-97.50.

Read more
 
 
User Box (click to open)
 
SEARCH IN WLJ
Sign up for our newsletter!
   
 
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11* 12* 13*
14 15 16* 17 18* 19 20*
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
 
 

© Crow Publications - Any reprint of WLJ stories, except for personal use, without permission, written consent and appropriate attribution is prohibited. 2008 Crow Publications. All rights reserved.